As soon as your appeal is filed with the appellate court, you should start preparing for your appeal. One of the first steps that you should take is to start preparing your brief. A brief is the main component of the argument that you will make to the appellate court. For this reason, you should give your brief as much attention as possible. You should also consider hiring an appellate lawyer to help you prepare the brief. Appellate lawyers will know how to create a compelling brief and will make the process of your appeal easier for you.

The Brief

The brief document is basically a written version of your whole argument in the appeal. Some basic elements that should be included in your brief are:

  • The facts of your case.
  • Laws involved in your case.
  • Your arguments about the issues in your case that you are appealing.

In order to be granted an appeal, you have to prove that there was some kind of legal error in your case that affected the outcome. This is why a brief is so essential – it is your way of proving what errors occurred and how they affected your case. If you are unable to prove that an error occurred during your original trial, your appeal will be denied.

To create the best brief that you can, you should consider including the following elements:

  • A statement of the case.
  • The nature of the proceedings brought against you.
  • The indictment against you.
  • The nature of the judgement.
  • The jurisdiction where the trial took place.
  • Your notice of appeal.
  • The questions you are raising in your brief.
  • A summary of your argument.
  • A statement of the facts in the case.
  • An assessment of the error made by the court.

The brief will be the basis for your oral argument and the foundation of your appeal. Make sure that you take the time to give it the attention that it deserves.

Reply Briefs

Once you file your initial brief, the other party involved in your brief will have the opportunity to address the issues raised in your brief in what is called a respondent’s brief. The respondent’s brief will explain why the correct decision was reached during the original trial and why the appellate court should not overturn the decision made by the trial court.

After the respondent sends in a brief, you have a chance to write a reply brief addressing the arguments made by the respondent. This is an optional brief that you don’t have to file. However, if you feel that you can address the arguments made in the respondent’s brief in a way that will help your case, you may do so. If you do decide to write a reply brief, it must be sent in no later than 20 days after the respondent’s brief is filed with the court. Because you will only have a few weeks to create your reply brief, you should quickly decide if you want to create one or not. Getting an appellate lawyer’s opinion at this stage in the process can greatly help you.